Data Stories – exploring data engagement

Do citizens engage more with data if it is designed to be findable, interesting and relevant,  as well as informative?

by The Open Data Institute

(Image source)

Citizens, as well as businesses, need to use information and data to understand the world and make decisions about their lives.  Often this information is distilled and presented to us as infographics or statistics. But it isn’t normally the case that citizens interact with data itself.  We have been trying to understand why is this the case? Our hunch is that data is seen as in the domain of The Expert. In the sense that it can be difficult to find, perceived as dry even uninteresting, irrelevant, often complicated to understand.

So we’re very happy to announce that the ODI have just joined as partners with The University of Southampton to explore this very question: Is it possible to make data accessible, interesting and engaging for people, as well as informative?

The project will look at novel frameworks and technologies for bringing data to people through art, games, and storytelling.”

The ODI hopes it has much to bring to the partnership, such as the work undertaken by our WDAqua PhD students to help make data more findable, and the Data as Culture team has long been working with artists who use data as their material. We wanted to cast the net wider and build as wide a community as possible. To reach out to as many varied people and groups as possible working in this space, we offered to host what we hope to be our first community building workshop. The workshop took place on 23rd January 2018 at the ODI offices and we asked participants to bring all and any relevant project or interest to the day.

The Data Stories website has a terrific summary of all the speakers and topics of discussion. With so many varied and interesting lightning talks on the day that we barely scratched the surface. We were so inspired by what we heard that we are planning to invite everyone back again to workshop more ideas about how we might all collaborate and contribute to the work of the team at the University of Southampton.  

We enthusiastically welcome anyone who is interested in participating in future workshops to get in touch, whatever your background: artist, journalist, analyst, community group, campaigner, designer or interested citizen.

To keep up to date with the project you can follow the shared twitter account at @datastoriesuk.

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